The first round of the Seldén SailJuice Winter Series is looking busier than ever, and competitors are advised to arrive as self-sufficient as possible...


1 December 2020

The Datchet Flyer, opening round of the Seldén SailJuice Winter Series, has attracted a record entry of 122 boats for this weekend, 6 & 7 December. With Covid restrictions uppermost in organisers’ minds, the doublehanders and singlehanders have been split into different days, Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Entries could have been even higher but for the fact that with National Lockdown #2 only being lifted a few days beforehand, many would-be competitors have been unable to retrieve their boats from sailing clubs whose gates have been padlocked for the past month. With almost 200 pre-registrations of interest, organisers would have been forced to make selections about who could or couldn’t attend.

As it is, everyone that is able to make it to Datchet Water Sailing Club this weekend has been awarded a place. So much so that some eager beavers have even entered both days in different boats. Multiple Endeavour Champions Nick Craig and Toby Lewis will be racing a hot Merlin Rocket fleet on Saturday and Nick will be back on Sunday to try his hand in the Hadron H2 singlehander.

The same is true of Tom Gillard who will be sailing with another former winner of the Seldén SailJuice Winter Series - Rachael Rhodes - in a Merlin one day, with Tom returning the next day to compete in his Streaker.

Over the past six years, the inner city kids from East London’s Greig City Academy have made a big splash in different parts of the sport including two participations in the 600-mile Rolex Fastnet Race. This weekend sees three entries from Greig City Academy, with Jaydon Owusu and Azat Ulutas racing in a hot 420 fleet with 14 entries, and then Jaydon returning on Sunday to hike out his ILCA 7 (formerly Laser Standard), while fellow Greig City acolyte Kai Hockley will be in the ILCA 6 (formerly Laser Radial).

Another one to watch in the 420s is Harry George who in the past has competed at the Datchet Flyer and many other Sailjuice events with his dad James. This time Harry has Arlo Braund in the front of the 420 while James is crewing for Nev Herbert in a Scorpion.

The youth sailors are unusually well represented at this event, with the lack of alternative competition in the UK making the Datchet Flyer more popular than normal. Aside from the strong support by the 420s, a follow-on from last season, there are RS Fevas and a strong turnout of Toppers set to compete this weekend.

As ever the rock stars are out in force, not least last year’s winner of the Datchet Flyer, RS Aero sailor Pete Barton, as well as the defending champions of last season’s Seldén SailJuice Winter Series, Simon Horsfield and Katie Burridge in the 2000. The 505s sees former Olympic representative Penny Clark sailing with husband Russ, who will be up against former national champions Charlie Walters and Dougal Cram, and reigning European Champions Roger Gilbert and Ben McGrane.

With a moderate to strong forecast, it could suit the world-class Fireball crews such as Chips Howarth/ Vyv Townend and Matt Burge/ Dan Schieber who between them have won more world and national titles than perhaps any of them can remember. The Contenders will also relish a stronger forecast, notably local legend Stuart Jones. 

The other side of this Series is diversity, with so many different classes lined up this weekend including Doug Pybus in a lowrider International Moth and Gareth Russell putting in a rare but welcome appearance for the Hornet class.



There will be an online briefing this Friday evening with vital information about participation this weekend. Please note that access to the club is forbidden other than in an emergency, so it’s important to bring your own drinking water, food and any other provisions that you might normally expect to buy at the club.

And be ready to do your changing by the car, not in the changing rooms. All communications for the event will be online, including protest hearings, briefings, prize giving, and all back-office functions.


With all the uncertainty over what COVID restrictions will be in place over the winter and already changes to the 2020/21 Seldén SailJuice Winter Series format, we have been looking at scoring arrangements to handle a number of different scenarios. A series scoring working group has been established, with representation from a cross-section of class associations, sailors and RYA race officials. The group met last weekend and have come up with a methodology to cover anticipated circumstances, from one event to all events progressing. The updated Notice of Series will be published before the Datchet Flyer.

Pre-register now

Plans continue for the other events in the Series to go ahead as originally announced, always with the proviso that things can change at any time, which is why the criteria for pre-registration have been designed to be as flexible and fair as possible.

Here’s a reminder of how pre-registration works, and the criteria by which entries are prioritised:

  • £5 advance deducted against the actual entry fee for each event
  • Spaces only allocated to those who have paid an advance against a number of criteria depending on the circumstances of each event
  • Order when payment for advance received (earlier entries given priority)
  • Class allocation - to ensure spread of classes represented
  • Demographic allocation (age and gender)
  • Number of events registered for
  • Number of events attended in previous Seldén SailJuice Winter Series
  • Host club members allocation
  • Distance to travel 

If a sailor is successful in being allocated a space against an individual event they will be sent a payment link for the balance of the entry fee which has to be paid within 10 days unless otherwise stated in the payment request.

If event cancelled, advance refunded 100%.

If entry not allocated, advance refunded 100%.

No refunds if the event goes ahead and sailor doesn't attend after being allocated a space.

Pre-registration for the events is now open at



The following events are in the Seldén SailJuice Winter Series 2020/21:

Datchet Flyer, Datchet Water Sailing Club
5 & 6 December 2020

Burghfield Brass Monkey, Burghfield Sailing Club
27 December 2020

Grafham Grand Prix, Grafham Water Sailing Club
3 January 2021

CANCELLED - Bloody Mary, Queen Mary Sailing Club 
9 January 2021

King George Gallop, King George Sailing Club
23 January 2021

John Merricks Tiger Trophy, Rutland Sailing Club 
6 & 7 February 2021

Oxford Blue, Oxford Sailing Club 
13 February 2021

RESCHEDULED - Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash, Draycote Water Sailing Club
6 & 7 March 2021


You can find out more about the Series here:


Photo Credits: Tim Olin